Ivy League professor calls God a 'racist' after Zimmerman verdict
Published July 16, 2013
An Ivy League professor blogged after George Zimmerman was found not guilty of murdering Trayvon Martin that the verdict shows God is a “white racist” who stalks “young black men.”
Anthea Butler, an associate professor at the University of Pennsylvania's Department of Religious Studies, made the unusual comments in a blog post released on Monday on ReligionDispatches.org, where she is a regular contributor.
“God ain’t good all of the time. In fact, sometimes, God is not for us,” she wrote in the post. “As a black woman in an [sic] nation that has taken too many pains to remind me that I am not a white man, and am not capable of taking care of my reproductive rights, or my voting rights, I know that this American god ain’t my god.
“As a matter of fact, I think he’s a white racist god with a problem. More importantly, he is carrying a gun and stalking young black men,” she added.
Butler adds that Trayvon Martin’s killing was the result of racism that was influenced by Christianity.
“As a historian of American and African-American religion, I know that the Trayvon Martin moment is just one moment in a history of racism in America that, in large part, has its underpinnings in Christianity and its history,” she wrote. “Those of us who teach American Religion have a responsibility to tell all of the story, not just the nice touchy-feely parts.”
“When the good Christians of America are some of its biggest racists, one has to consider our moral responsibility to call out those who clearly are not for human flourishing, no matter what ethnicity a person is. Where are you on that scale? I know where I am.”
According to her biography, Butler holds doctorate and masters degrees in religion from Vanderbilt University as well as a masters in theology from Fuller Theological Seminary. She is the author of a 2007 book titled "Women in the Church of God in Christ, Making A Sanctified World," published by University of North Carolina Press.
Butler, who did not respond to requests for comment, is also an associate chair for the school's religious studies department and is a regular contributor and guest on both MSNBC and CNN.
Josiah Ryan, editor-in-chief of Campus Reform, which first reported Butler's comments, said the professor's reaction to the verdict was bizarre.
"No amount of heartbreak over the Zimmerman acquittal justifies these hateful posts," Ryan said. "Professor Butler's remarks were clearly designed to hurt when Americans needed healing and to divide when we needed unity.”
"In tumultuous times students must be able turn to their professors for calm and wisdom. In stoking the flames of hatred, Professor Butler has betrayed her students' trust. UPenn administrators ought not to allow her back in the classroom."
Officials for the University of Pennsylvania declined to comment.